Belfast Telegraph

Reforms must boost economic growth

Cbi Northern Ireland director, Nigel Smyth: "It is vital the UK government implements banking reforms in a way which supports lending to businesses and helps growth.

In Northern Ireland the discussions around UK banking reforms have tended to be over-shadowed by the Irish banking crisis and the implications of Nama.

"However the UK reforms proposed today by the Independent Commission on Banking could have far reaching impacts on lending to the business community in Northern Ireland. It is essential that the reforms do not lead to an increase in either the cost of lending or reduce the availability of finance which is essential to support business investment.

"Businesses want greater competition in banking so it's positive that the Commission has proposed a set of measures to make switching easier and improve price transparency."

Ann McGregor, chief executive Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce:

"It is vital the reforms of the banking system proposed are considered in the wider context of economic growth. In Northern Ireland our banks provide much-needed support to businesses of all sizes, as well as employing thousands of people directly.

"Many international financial organisations have large-scale operation here; they generate high levels of employment and their presence has a number of associated benefits for suppliers and spin-off companies.

"It is vital that banking reforms do not jeopardise the performance and growth of these companies and that our fragile economic growth is not damaged. The delay of any implementation of reforms until 2019 is a welcome step, given genuine ongoing concerns about the banking sector's ability to lend."

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